Monday, November 25, 2013

Simon Aboud's cheery/scary COMES A BRIGHT DAY: jewels, heist, love and hot-headed robbers

One of the many small-but-enjoyable independent movies -- this time from Britain -- that get lost in the theatrical/
VOD/DVD shuffle, COMES A BRIGHT DAY has a number of things to recommend it. Not a great film by any means, nor even all that original, it nonetheless boasts a cast worth watching, a story that unfolds with both charm and excitement, while showing off the work of a first-time/full-length filmmaker, Simon Aboud (below) whom we shall surely hear from soon again.

This is an ensemble piece but with one character, a young fellow named Sam Smith (played by Submarine's Craig Roberts, below) around which the movie rumbles. Sam is bent on getting somewhere in business, and as quickly as possible, and so he applies to his life and work the "rules" that seem to guide so many people today. But instead of ending up ahead, he finds himself involved in a jewel heist that involves a high-end store, its proprie-tor, another couple of hostages, a pair of rather bizarre crooks and a young woman to whom Sam has taken quite a fancy just a tad earlier in this suddenly event-filled day.

Writer/director Aboud (who, for the record, is Paul McCartney's son-in-law) has a bit of a problem managing his movie's tone throughout. At one point there is cold-blooded murder, which is afterwards almost constantly threatened. Yet, considering what happens in the film, Aboud does manage to hold it all together, while giving pride of place to characterization. With actors as good as he's assembled, this pays off very well.

Though young Roberts has the "lead," it's that wonderful, charismatic actor Timothy Spall (above) who pretty much steals the movie. And he does not play the thief: That would be Kevin McKidd, shown below, left, with accomplice Josef Altin. We learn the least about the McKidd character, which works out OK, as we don't much care for or have any interest in him, other than seeing him thoroughly undone.

That love interest is played by the ubiquitous Imogen Poots, below, who looks just a little too old to match up with Sam -- yet this, too, manages to work somehow, due to the two actors' odd chemistry and how the story Aboud has created comes around and off in its charming and circuitous manner.

One more character needs to get some mention: Sam's friend and helper, Elliot, who works as the "chef" at a little take-away place nearby that also figures beautifully into the scheme of things. Eliot is played by a newcomer to my attention, Anthony Welsh (below), who is so very likable and winning in this role that he comes close to stealing the movie, too. It is Elliot's charatcer, along with that of the store owner played by Spall, who brings home the movie's necessary message: Don't bother putting on airs. Do your job and do it well, and let the rest fall into place.

That message used to work -- when western societies existed at least a little more along the lines of fair play. That it works again here is due mostly to the fairy godfather character who helps things along. But, gosh, it's swell to see some of the old "verities" in action again.

Comes a Bright Day, which never got a theatrical release on these shores, can be now be seen via Netflix streaming and on Amazon Instant Video and DVD. It's definitely worth a look.

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